If it’s not the economy that is taxing us, it’s the weather.
As one brave customer who did manage to venture into our shop said: “Please tell me I’m not mistaken, but we don’t live in Finland, do we?”
Cambridgeshire is normally a safe haven when the snow hits but last week it saved up 20 years’ worth of snow and dumped it overnight. My two children were delighted at the prospect of a day off school, snowball fights and toboggan races, while I contemplated not seeing a single customer in a week in which my spring collections were looking very tempting.
My friend who runs a coffee shop was thrilled that her takings for the day surpassed mine. Snow is something I can’t do anything about, so spending energy worrying about customers not being prepared to risk life and limb to reach the shop is a waste.
The global economy is something I also can’t change but I’m certainly not prepared to be swept along with the doom and gloom of the media. I’ve worked hard to build the reputation of Anne Furbank and customer loyalty is strong when the economy is less than favourable.
I will continue to look after my customers by offering the best service I can and showcasing quality clothing. I will consider the implications of the fluctuating euro exchange rates and will be very careful with my pricing structure, and I will continue to buy exciting collections, expecting my suppliers to provide them.
Customers come to me for retail therapy and that is what I will give them. The stock is looking fantastic and the customers are loving it.
Rebecca Oakley is a partner in womenswear indie Anne Furbank, which has stores in Buckden in Cambridgeshire and Newmarket in Suffolk